Prolonged exposure to high levels of continuous noise causes progressive hearing injuries that can lead to deafness. The perception of the risk of hearing loss and hearing protection is a psychosocial factor of great importance in our current society. This study attempts to determine whether in companies with exposure to noise and where the preventive measures established by RD 286/2006 are applied, exposed workers have suffered hearing loss.
Noise is probably one of the most widespread and least considered occupational hazards. It is estimated that 30% of the working population is exposed to noise exceeding 85 db (A). After 35 years of exposure to 85 dB (A), at least 9% of workers will present professional deafness, while for an exposure to 90 dB (A) in the same exposure period it increases to 20%. Therefore, the legal limit established by RD 1316/1989 did not guarantee the health of workers, (RD 286/2006, of March 10) (Carrera Modrego, 2006; Labor, Environment and Health Trade Union Institute, 2007). In addition to causing hearing loss, noise hinders communication, increases the likelihood of errors and thus the probability of accidents, generates stress and can contribute to the appearance of circulatory, digestive and nervous problems.
It is estimated that 20% of the Spanish population, more than 9 million people, live with noise levels that exceed the levels considered adequate for human health. And almost 20 million could be subject to lower rates, but they can also cause discomfort in our health if we are exposed for long periods of time (De la Osa, 2015).